Grey Imports

Items not purchased through Authorised Suzuki Resellers are referred to as ‘Grey’.

Suzuki Marine South Africa is the only South African authorised distributor of Suzuki outboard motors. Suzuki Marine SA receive a substantial number of phone calls from those who have purchased Grey Market items, who have experienced problems due to the many unknowns associated with these products. The standards of storage and transport are highly questionable, and there is also the possibility that the item is refurbished. Products not purchased through one of our Authorised Suzuki Resellers cannot be covered by our South African Warranty and we cannot provide technical support or warranty repair to purchasers of these engines. Please do not contact Suzuki South Africa for help with any Grey Market products. Please contact the reseller or importer of your Grey Market items for warranty.


Suzuki vs. Grey

Besides the functionality and specifications of an outboard, another deciding factor is of course the price. Grey market items seem cheaper when compared to a Suzuki outboard purchased through the right channel, this is due to exchange rates and other economic factors such as holding excess stock.  Yet what are the disadvantages of purchasing a cheaper product?

The list below compares the benefits of a Suzuki outboard versus an outboard purchased through the grey channel:


  • Our products comply with South African standards
  • The manual in the package will be in English.
  • Users are able to register their product through their dealer with Suzuki Marine SA.
  • During the warranty period, any warrantable repairs will be free of charge, provided the outboard was bought in the same country as where it is warrantable.
  • Registered owners of warranties with Suzuki Marine SA are contacted if there is a factory recall of a part or update.  The small fix often improves your outboards performance or stops a larger problem occurring. 
  • You will get the product you pay for.


  • Items may not meet mandatory safety and certification codes, or may not have been handled properly in transit, therefore they may malfunction.
  • The manual may not be in the preferred language of your region.
  • Motors registered for warranty overseas rarely receive warranty or the right level of service from that country.
  • Certain dealers selling grey items may not be able to provide technical support as well. Also due to geography they cannot service or repair your outboard unless you freight it back to them.
  • Grey imports are not registered on the South African system for factory back up so these motors slip through the net.
  • The exporter often goes very quiet if things go wrong.
  • You may not get the product you pay for.  It could be second hand, it could be counter rotating, it could be a previous year’s model.
  • Under South African law a “Grey” importer is solely responsible for all warranty.
  • The manual in foreign countries may specify incorrect oil for South African operating conditions.

What is “Grey Market”?

Generally, a manufacturer works with a single importer who can sell and support their products in a given region. The importer usually has local dealers and distributors who resell the imported products; this is called a “distribution channel”. Grey Market refers to merchandise that is imported and sold by methods other than these normal channels.

For local safety regulations and certifications and government requirements a manufacturer provides special packaging (manuals in the appropriate language, emissions standards, electrical system compatibility etc.) and product engineering designed to meet local codes. Manufacturers also have service and support agreements with the authorised importer.

Grey Market items are not designed to be sold in a particular market and cannot be supported by the authorised importer because they may not meet mandatory safety and certification codes. Because these items are not designed for a particular market they may not function properly, or the authorised importer may not be equipped to provide service, support or software.

With the opening of international borders and the use of the Internet to sell goods, Grey Market outboards are becoming increasingly common in the marine industry. Many different types of equipment are brought into the country for sale by unauthorized dealers without the proper documentation and many consumers do not always know what they are purchasing.

Because the resellers’ costs are less they can sell Grey Market items for less. Unfortunately this price saving is only on the initial purchase; because service and support is more difficult to obtain it may end up costing the consumer more in the long run.

How do I know if my Suzuki product is “Grey Market”?

If the deal was just too good to be true, it probably was. One of the first indicators that a piece of Suzuki merchandise might be Grey Market is if the price is considerably less than most other dealers.

Additionally, a genuine Suzuki product will include an Owners’ Manual and Warranty Registration card in English. A warranty card that does not state “Suzuki South Africa” can be identified as Grey.

Moreover, you can go to one of our official Suzuki dealerships, who can check the engine’s serial number on our system to see if the product was sold by Suzuki SA.